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Posts Tagged ‘Corrupt

World focus on Burma (3 August 2008)

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New UN rapporteur arrives in Burma

Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Rangoon (dpa) – A United Nations rapporteur arrived in Burma Sunday to discuss human-rights concerns, diplomatic officials said. Tomas Ojea Quintana, on his …


Might is no longer just right

The Age, Australia –

Burma’s closest ally is China, with whom it shares a long border, while it is also a member of ASEAN. China, India and ASEAN — who largely make up the …

Politics part of arena in which Bush attends games

News & Observer, NC –

Then in Thailand, Bush will draw attention to the repressed citizens in neighboring Myanmar, also called Burma, and reflect on the future of US policy in …

New faces in new places

Schenectady Gazette, NY –

The Asian population in the Capital Region has increased about 150 percent from 1990 to 2006. The Capital Region had a small base of about 10388 Asians in …


San Francisco Chronicle, USA –

… poor human rights situation in China, the crackdown in Tibet, and Beijing’s support for the genocidal regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. …

Insein Prison (round complex) is shown in a satellite image. “Prison happens to be the longest-running political seminar in Burma,” a former inmate says. (Digital Globe Via Google Earth)

Washington Post, United States –

Human rights groups say more than 1800 political detainees languish long-term in about 20 prisons and labor camps in Burma, also called Myanmar. …

US Must Give UN The Boot

Tampa Tribune, FL –

Or, wring its hands when Burma suffered through a devastating hurricane. Humanitarian aid? Obviously not the UN’s table. Instead, the UN elected Zimbabwe to …

Myanmar Muslims stay put despite Bangladesh misery

Trend News Agency, Azerbaijan –

A Rohingya elder, Suriyaya Begam said returning to Myanmar would make life worse for her people. “We were tortured in Burma. Our mosque was attacked. …

Turkey: A battle in the war of elites

Arab News, Saudi Arabia –

… individuals from participating in presidential or parliamentary elections; or as Burma, which is ruled by a pernicious and corrupt military junta. …

Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow

Huffington Post, NY –
It was a missed opportunity for the United States of America to stand strong for the anguished people of Darfur and Burma as well as for the Tibetans in …

Iran to attend its first SAARC summit

Tehran Times, Iran –

Australia and Burma have shown interest in becoming a part of the South Asian regional bloc. Accordingly the Colombo Summit is likely to consider their …

:. Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir

Kashmir Watch, Pakistan –

The torture and imprisonment in Indian-occupied Kashmir is no less intense as it is in Burma. In fact the pain, suffering and humiliation in Kashmir is …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

August 3, 2008 at 2:44 am

In Pictures: The World’s Most Corrupt Countries

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Liz Moyer and Andrew Farrell

Corruption continues to intensify in two-fifths of the world’s nations, nurtured by persistent poverty, political instability and crime.

In percentage terms, the number of countries perceived to be corrupt fell slightly, according to recent surveys by Transparency International, an international watchdog group. But that’s only because the sample size of its annual study has gotten larger with the addition of 17 countries.

In Pictures: The World’s Most Corrupt Countries

Of the 180 countries looked at in its most recent rankings, 132 had index scores below 5, including Greece, India, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Some 56 countries were rated below 3, a level that indicates rampant corruption, including Argentina, Pakistan and Russia.

Transparency International developed its index on a scale from 0 to 10, with the lowest number indicating the highest perception of corruption. The index is based on worldwide surveys of country specialists, business officials, human rights monitors and others.

For the most recent index, the best-scoring countries were New Zealand, Denmark and Finland, sharing an index ranking of 9.4. At the bottom of the heap, where perceptions of corruption were highest, Somalia and Myanmar are tied with an index ranking of 1.4.

Of course it’s easy to see the difference between the two ends of the spectrum. New Zealand, Denmark and Finland have wealth and stable economies and governments, and don’t stoke a lot of international controversy. Somalia and Myanmar are torn by armed conflict and political oppression.

The divide runs along economic realities. Forty percent of the countries rated below 3 are classified by the World Bank as low income. It doesn’t help if the governments are weak or engaged in a struggle for power.

“Countries torn apart by conflict pay a huge toll in their capacity to govern,” says Huguette Labelle, chairman of Transparency International. “With public institutions crippled or nonexistent, mercenary individuals help themselves to public resources, and corruption thrives.”

Myanmar, also known as Burma, probably wins the prize for worst public relations of the year. Last fall, the military-led government cracked down on protesting monks, killing a few in the riots that broke out as the government rounded up protesters. Internet access was blocked to prevent news from getting out to the outside world.

To top it off, in May the Burmese government hindered international relief efforts after the most damaging cyclone in its history, which killed an estimated 130,000. America’s first lady, Laura Bush, has led an active campaign against the military junta, calling on international bodies to pressure it to move toward democracy.

Somalia has its own problems, not least of which is persistent and growing piracy in the waters off its shores. There have been more than two dozen piracy attacks reported in the Gulf of Aden since the beginning of this year (see ” Sea Piracy’s Bloody Growth”).

The double whammy of weak government and abundant natural resources also stokes corruption, particularly where personal greed can run rampant without fear of recrimination. In Equatorial Guinea, 10th on the Transparency International list, 30% of the profits from recently discovered offshore oil fields goes straight into the state officials’ pockets.

Nearby in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tied for 10th with Guinea, government officials demand payments from mining companies. The country has abundant reserves of some of the most sought-after commodities: copper, gold, uranium and coltan.

There is hope, however. Several African countries showed marked improvement in their rankings over one year, including Seychelles (to 57 from 63), South Africa (to 43 from 51) and Swaziland (to 84 from 121). Transparency International said the jumps mean genuine reform efforts can help combat perceptions of corruption.

Outside Africa, many countries that improved over the year are in Eastern Europe: Croatia (to 64 from 69), the Czech Republic (to 41 from 46), Macedonia (to 84 from 105) and Romania (to 69 from 84). Italy went to 41 from 45.

“The concentration of gainers in Southeast and Eastern Europe testifies to the galvanizing effect of the European Union accession process on the fight against corruption,” says Transparency International.

In Pictures: The World’s Most Corrupt Countries

Disaster in Asia: The Business Tremors

Burma’s Cyclone Brings Genocide

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No. 1 Myanmar (Burma) (tie)

The Burmese government drew widespread international criticism after it hindered international relief efforts following a deadly cyclone. The government, which tied for the top spot in perceived corruption, doesn’t tolerate dissent. Last year, the military regime in this Southeast Asian nation brutally suppressed protests by democracy activists and monks.


No. 1 Somalia (tie)

The East African country suffers from a weak national government riddled with crooked officials. Somalia, with its many poor people and 1,880-mile coast, is also a breeding ground for piracy. The bandits look for easy prey in the crowded shipping routes of the Red Sea.


No. 3 Iraq

With plenty of American money pouring in and the Iraqi public sector struggling to rebuild itself, corruption is rife in this Middle Eastern country. “Corruption and smuggling have diverted government revenues potentially available for rebuilding efforts,” said the U.S. Government Accountability Office in a report last year. Even more worrisome is that some of the money is being used to fund the Iraq insurgency. (See “The Energy Underworld.”)


No. 4 Haiti

Last month, a prominent Haitian banker railed against corrupt legislators after his bid for prime minister was thwarted. “At the very beginning of the process, I was confronted with the forces of corruption,” he told reporters. It’s a fair excuse in this Caribbean nation, which ranked fourth in perceived corruption. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere hopes to make progress under the democratically elected president and parliament that came into power in 2006.


No. 5 Uzbekistan (tie)

Houston oil services company Baker Hughes pleaded guilty last year to making improper payments to get jobs in a number of countries. One was Uzbekistan. There’s a lot more going on in this former Soviet republic. The country was ranked the fifth worst at having honest officials. Sadly, it also finished at the bottom of a recent ranking of the world’s happiest countries. (See “Chasing Happiness.”)


No. 5 Tonga (tie)

This archipelago nation in the South Pacific is the only country in the area ruled by a monarchy. The government, which relies heavily on foreign aid, hopes to clean things up. It appointed its first anti-corruption commissioner this month.


No. 7 Sudan (tie)

Sudan tied for the seventh most corrupt nation in the world, and that’s not even its most pressing problem. A military conflict that erupted in Western Sudan in 2003 has tormented citizens. The CIA estimates the conflict has displaced nearly 2 million people and caused between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths.


No. 7 Chad (tie)

Although a three-decade civil war ended in 1990, unrest has been common since then. Earlier this year, rebels attempted to take the country’s capital. In one of Chad’s more egregious examples of government unscrupulousness, funds that were supposed to have been used to feed the hungry were diverted to buy arms. (See “Chad’s President Faces Opposition.”)


No. 7 Afghanistan (tie)

Despite the toppling of the Taliban and the installation of the its first democratically elected president, the country is struggling to make progress on corruption. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s most dangerous destinations. Terrorists frequently attack political leaders, military personnel and Westerners.


No. 10 Laos (tie)

The Southeast Asian nation of Laos has been gradually returning to private enterprise from communism since the 1980s, but there’s been some bumps. Corruption remains a costly problem. One bright spot: The picturesque country is benefiting from the ecotourism boom. (See “Top Spots For Southeast Asian Ecotourism.”)

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 27, 2008 at 9:09 am

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , ,

World Focus on Burma (2-12-2007)

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  1. World leaders call for Myanmar dialogue with opposition
    AFP –
    The leaders noted that the European Union had reinforced sanctions on Myanmar, which they called by its pre-military government name, Burma, …
  2. Report: Many Filipinos lack sanitary facilities at home, Philippines –
    … officials attended the EASAN conference—included the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Mongolia, Timor-Leste, China and Indonesia. …
  3. Mandela Says Ending HIV/AIDS Affliction Is
    audio clip VOA Burmese

    Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Michel, right, arrive at the Nelson Mandela 46664 World AIDS Day Concert in Johannesburg, 1 Dec. 2007Nelson Mandela says the answer to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic lies in the hands of the world’s people

  4. Driving for Burma

    BBC Ko Sithu, an activist in Canada launched his month long campaign to drive a car across North America for Free Burma Campaign.

  5. Habitat for Humanity helps 15th family
    News 10 Now, NY –
    Habitat for Humanity Board Member, Vanessa Blase said, “Around ten years ago they fled Myanmar with the just the clothes on their back, in the middle of the …
  6. Author chronicles saving tigers
    Deseret News, UT –
    This, his third book, recounts perhaps his most dangerous adventure: the creation of the world’s largest tiger preserve in Myanmar (formerly Burma), …
  7. ‘Buddha,’ ‘Kertesz’ splashes color into dbcc’s new facility
    Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL –
    Pictures like his 1994 “Golden Rock, Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar (Burma)” and 1998 “A Monk Studies Buddhist Scripture in the Late Afternoon at a Monastery in …
  8. Burma tragedy hits home
    Press & Sun-Bulletin, NY –
    Kilmer of Binghamton was a high school English teacher at International School Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), from 1998 to 2007.
  9. Religious Lead Payer for Peace and Freedom in Burma
    Bosco Information Service, India –
    … introducing the evening with a brief history of the recent military repression in Myanmar. Burma has been ruled by a military dictatorship since 1962. …
  10. A violent and ‘friendless’ regime
    Waterbury Republican American, CT –
    Along with Sudan, Myanmar has been cited by the United Nations for continuing to use child soldiers despite repeated international demands to stop. Burma is …
  11. Report: Rampant corruption in Iraq
    United Press International –
    Only Somalia and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, ranked worse. Some US officials estimate that up to a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and …
  12. There are 42 million fewer landmines today
    Winnipeg Free Press, Canada –
    Use of anti-personnel landmines is limited to only two governments, Myanmar/Burma and Russia. Global trade in landmines has virtually stopped. …
  13. America’s Standing in the World
    USA Daily –
    This is what inspires Buddhist monks to risk their lives to march against the military dictators in Burma (now Myanmar). This is what provokes outrage in …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 2, 2007 at 3:08 am